If there is a topic I can spontaneously talk about, it’s this blog … it is the closest thing I have to a hobby (which is incredibly sad on so many levels) and I definitely have a Love / Hate relationship with it. To that end, I was in San Antonio, Texas, last week attending the Texas Society of Architects AIA convention and towards the end, gave a presentation on the value of social media for architects. Despite the fact that I had a 1:00pm post-lunch time slot on the last day, the room was almost full (I was literally expecting 10 people) and things went pretty well as I maniacally presented 90 minutes worth of information into a 60-minute window.
One of the topics I very briefly touched on, but did not have the time to go into any real detail on, was regarding the content on this site and where I get my ideas. It’s no secret that I don’t have an editorial calendar to the articles I write, and everything that comes to life on this site is basically a true reflection of the work I am currently focusing on in the office. However …. I have a bunch of articles that seemed like a good idea when I conceptualized them, but their execution was a different matter.
Execution might be the perfect word for it – some of these posts deserve to be DOA. However, I thought it might be fun to share some of the articles that I started writing but decided to abandon for one reason or another.
In no particular order, I present you with the Better Left for Dead articles from my site. Who knows, maybe you’ll see something on this list that will entice you to ask for me to drag it off the heap and see it to some sort of completion.
Post Title: Vendor Booth Quicksand
Excerpt: You find yourself walking the expo floor, hoping that you find some interesting new products, and you keep repeating to yourself: “Don’t make eye contact! You’ll get sucked in and never get out.”
What Happened? I think we’ve all been there before but as soon as I wrote this first sentence I thought, nowhere to go now, sounds like a pretty negative piece.
Post Title: Keep Learning
Excerpt: This has been an interesting few weeks for me – very busy and very stressful, two things that I could do with less of in my life. Whenever the stress level goes up in my life, the time I spend in the shower seems to increase proportionately. I tend to let my mind wander (even more than normal) … I do some of my best creative thinking in the shower. I’m thinking about all sort of things, but the one topic that has been working it’s way to the front is the need for personal growth.
Most people recognize the need for personal growth but as I’ve become older, I’ve noticed that people either stop seeking opportunities for this growth, or they decide that they have what they need and they go into “refinement” mode … they simply become better and better and the same handful of skills they currently possess.
What Happened? I actually finished this post and just decided not to publish it … I read it and thought “who cares about this?” I just wish I had figured this out before I spent an hour writing it. Who knows, maybe it was a cathartic exercise.
Post Title: Pro
What Happened? I have the graphics prepared and I simply never got around to writing anything. I meant for this post to be about the design process and how the thing that separates me (and all educated design professionals) from other people is that we can design things for other people, that are clearly articulated and logical, even if I don’t care for the problem I am solving. That’s the thing that defines me as a professional.
Post Title: Feeling Ignored?
Excerpt: If it’s a big architectural firm or small architectural firm, some people will feel ignored regardless of how much attention they receive. I can tell you that the people who I have the most confidence in probably feel the most ignored.
What Happened? After writing that excerpt above I became bored and distracted and thought there wasn’t much more to this … reading it now, I think there are a few anecdotes from my past that might be of some benefit to people.
Post Title: It’s an Architect Thing
Excerpt: For some Architects, working overtime is part of the job description. They don’t wonder why, they just conclude that it’s part of the culture of being an architect. Why is that?
What Happened? It was such a bummer of a topic I decided I didn’t want to think about it. I had seen a poll in The Architect’s Journal which was completed by 400 architects, designers, and students, that highlighted a widespread culture within the profession of working additional hours without pay. Nearly 2/5th’s of the respondents (38.4%) worked at least 10 hours of unpaid overtime a week. Just because it drained my life force I didn’t feel the need to suck the life out of everyone else. I shut down the blog and probably watched kitten video’s for awhile just to get my head right.
Post Title: How to Avoid the 10 Mistakes Every Architecture Student Makes
What Happened? I actually have the 10 mistakes written out but I haven’t written the supporting reasons for why I selected those particular 10 things. This would actually be a really helpful post for many people, but I probably won’t revisit it until next summer.
Post Title: Earn While You Learn
Excerpt: “Earn While You Learn” is one of those phrases that I really, really hate. From a purely practical standpoint, if you have a job, you are earning while you learn. This is not something that I dispute – it’s just that this phrase suggests that you are benefitting at someone else’s expense.
What Happened? I started to think about all the comments I could receive on a post like this and decided it wasn’t worth it. We mostly work hourly in my office and I am incredibly mindful of how much time we spend on tasks. There is a balance I strive for to put the least expensive but qualified individual on a task. I think the act of teaching younger associates and architects how to do something is a burden that shouldn’t be carried solely by the client. They are hiring me for my expertise and as such, when I have to learn something new, I carry some of that expense. Even now I can feel the comments bubbling up in some of the people reading this article.
Post Title: Architectural Interns: Day One
Excerpt: First Question – On your “Just follow the recipe” method: Whatever we have learned in Architecture has never come from one type of source and from all the mindset we have built, we always tend to give more than what is asked for. Seldom do the seniors (or Professors) accept the student’s flavor added to the dish that was desired. If we are supposed to “Just follow the recipe”, are we any good to our self (apart from the technical knowledge we gain and understanding the mentor’s way)?
The point I was trying to convey in that article was that young people should recognize that there is a process to design and it takes some time to develop a balance between the creative and the practical aspects of architecture, so by extension, experience should count for something. However, I am a big advocate that the relationship between architect and associate is a dynamic one – there should be a give and take from both parties. There are always happy accidents that occur when two people communicate with one another – I might say one thing and it gets interpreted in another way that might lead in total exciting and unexpected ways.
What Happened? This was an email interview that I participated in and I simply forgot about it. There are 6 or so more questions and I think this post would actually have some value. The timing isn’t right to publish it now but maybe if I can remember, it would make more sense rolling it out this next April or May.
Post Title: Modern Architects Who Inspire
Excerpt: … I think the architects I am thinking of were the folks I started researching and reading about after I graduated from college and started to realize that I didn’t learn as much about architecture as I thought I did when I was in school. When I started practicing as a “real” architect, I become far more interested in how things got put together, how materials were transitioned from one to another, clarity of space and expression …
That’s what led me to the Modernists.
What Happened? About 90% of this article is already written, all that is missing is the supporting graphics and images … and then the critical discourse about why these particular architects are worth your attention. How do you summarize the work of Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breuer, and Oscar Niemeyer? It got hard and since I seem to be at my mental limit of exhaustion when I write these posts, this was more than I could take.
Post Title: Pattern 101
Excerpt: Tartan, the pattern most commonly associated with plaid, is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colors. Burberry, for example, is a tartan plaid pattern
What Happened? This post died due to my lack of real talent in Photoshop. I wanted to make the examples of the different patterns I was going to discuss and I simply couldn’t find the time to add that particular ability to my skill set. I think it would be a nice addition to my “_______ 101” series of posts so maybe one day, this post will come back to life.
Post Title: Design Retainers: What, Why, and How
Excerpt: Paying up front for services you expect to be rendered isn’t an unusual concept – but it isn’t unilaterally applied in the practice of architecture.
What Happened? Bored … it happens sometimes. Probably a good post considering the number of emails I get on the subject. In fact, I could probably just dig out one of my responses, cut-n-paste it in and voilá! I’d have a post.
Post Title: Architects Take a While to Get Going
Excerpt: This falls into the “something I was thinking about when I couldn’t fall asleep category. The premise is that older architects are better designers than younger architects … and by older, I don’t mean ancient and outdated, I just mean they have been designing longer. As this thought popped into my head I accepted it as a widely accepted maxim but I hadn’t really ever stopped to wonder specifically why this seems to be true.
You see a building by Renzo Piano and you know he designed it.Over years of designing – and getting those designs built – he has figured out what he likes and what’s important to him.
I’m lying in bed sliding one foot around at the bottom of the sheets looking for the cool spot … thinking. My pillow when new is too puffy, but after I’ve used it for a while it will be too flat – there’s like a three-week window when it has achieved the optimal thickness
What Happened? As soon as I started talking about “pillows” and “looking for the cool spot” in the bed, I realized this idea hadn’t baked in my head long enough. To give you an idea of how long things rattle around in my head, I started this post in November of 2012.
Post Title: Spouses of Architects
Excerpt: I would like to take a moment and apologize to all the people out there who are married to architects. If you are an architect and you are married to another architect – well … you should either punch each other in the face or apologize. Maybe both (I’ll leave the order up to you).
What Happened? I think I started writing this post because being married to an architect can be difficult (just ask any architect). I thought I would address the matter by talking about it in the most public forum I have available to me and allow several thousand’s of architects, and spouses of architects, commiserate with one another through our mutual similarities. I should probably write this post, but I’d better make sure that I’m in a good mood when I do it, otherwise it’ll probably just be depressing.
There you go … 13 posts that seem to have the best chance of seeing the light of day, although probably not. In all, I currently have 39 other articles sitting in my “drafts” folder on this site. Most of them already have hours and hours of time invested into them, but despite all evidence to the contrary, not everything I write should ever be read.